An acoustic jazz trio and a multiple Grammy-winning mastering engineer who has plied his deft touch to records by Alessia Cara, Jay-Z, Justin Bieber, Khalid and others totaling over 100 million in album sales may seem like strange bedfellows at first. But keyboardist Philippe Saisse has a history with Colin Leonarddating back a few years and now calls upon him to master all his recording projects. Leonard had been itching to get into a vinyl release after having recently acquired a lathe cutting machine that presses vinyl albums thus Saisse’s idea to revisit his trio’s 2006 release, “The Body and Soul Sessions,” instantly intrigued Leonard. The remastered album drops June 21 for the first time on vinyl and will also be available as a CD and in digital form.
An eclectic collection of a dozen pop, R&B and jazz covers, “The Body and Soul Sessions” spawned four singles, including No. 1 hits “Do It Again” and “September.” With Saisse’s spirited and nimble piano, Fender Rhodes and keyboards, David Finck’s bouncy and probing acoustic bass, and Scooter Warner’s crackling drum and percussion rhythms, Saisse describes the swinging, buoyant Goh Hotoda-produced set as “a fun, party record that was a really successful album.” Revamping the mix of contemporary and straight-ahead jazz for release on vinyl required editing and sacrifice.
“A vinyl album can only contain twenty minutes of music per side and the original album was fifty minutes long. We had to remove one song (“The Dolphin”) and edit each track to get the album down to forty minutes. As it turned out, the limitations of the technology actually made it a better, more concise album,” said Saisse, who first tapped Leonard to master his trio’s 2017 album, “On The Level.”
All twelve songs appearing on the original version will be on the CD and digital release of “The Body and Soul Sessions Remastered.” Later this month, the disc’s groovy, 1960s retro “Constant Rain” will be serviced to radio and online outlets for playlist adds.
Part of what inspired Saisse to reboot the album came from his desire to keep the good times going after working the past couple years with Grammy-winning guitar legend Nile Rodgers of Chic. Saisse wrote, produced and played keys on a song called “State of Mine” with Rodgers for the debut album by The Allen Carman Project, “Carmanology,” a project Saisse developed and produced with percussionist Gumbi Ortiz that was released last month. Rodgers liked the song so much that he included it on Chic’s 2018 album, “It’s About Time,” swapping out the original rhythm tracks for Chic’s rhythm section.
The French-born, Los Angeles-based Saisse was a Grammy nominee for his 2011’s contemporary jazz outing, “At World’s Edge.” His first recording date was 40 years ago with jazz fusion guitar giant Al Di Meola with whom he has continued to tour throughout the years. Saisse launched his solo recording career in 1988 with “Valerian.” The busy keyboardist-composer-producer has forged a unique and diverse career working with superstars David Bowie and The Rolling Stones, touring the globe in astute power trio PSP with Simon Phillips and Pino Palladino, and crafting tracks and albums for contemporary/smooth jazz royalty Dave Koz, Kirk Whalum, Peter White, Rick Braun, Marc Antoine, and BWB among many more. Known for his sweeping arrangements and cinematic compositions, Saisse pens music for film, video games, commercials and television such as “Madam Secretary” and the Jesse Owens biopic, “Race.”